Danger Ahead? The Rapidly Evolving World of Neuromarketing

Gw_fmri_neuromarketingjpgYou know the old joke: If Henry Ford had asked consumers whether they’d be interested in an automobile, they’d have told him no—they really just wanted a faster horse.

For all the targeting capabilities martech is bringing to bear these days, it may offer less than we realize in understanding, much less predicting, what products we are most likely to buy, or what we really want from a brand.

The fact is, people may not (in fact, usually don’t) really know what they prefer, or they may edit their real preferences when asked about them—revealing what they think they think, or what they'd like to think they think. Social desirability (the urge to seek approval) may shade their responses. Or they may just want to pick “the right answer” in surveys and focus groups.

Which brings in the whole field of neuromarketing and the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), or “brain scans,” to quite quickly and accurately assess the neurological impact of advertising across the parts of the brain associated with "value," "emotion," and "motivation," according to Insead Knowledge.

Ferreting Out Focus Group Fallacies

As I discussed in my book The On-Demand Brand, scientists at Baylor University, for instance, have used fMRI to determine true preference for Coke or Pepsi, and scientists at UCLA can tell whether you’re really a Republican or a Democrat. Meanwhile, Mars long ago discovered that fMRI had the most predictive of in-market ad effectiveness. Survey results didn't even come close. Put another way, fMRI "shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences), rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts)."

As Insead puts it, advances in Electroencephalography (EEG) also show promise in assessing memory processing, attention, and emotional engagement. According to Martech Advisor, for instance, Cheetos once discovered that while focus group participants said they didn't like an edgy prankvertising-style commercial, brain scans showed they actually loved the spot. Participants said they didn't want to admit liking it for fear of being judged. The prank campaign was a huge success and helped Cheetos position itself around mischievousness and thrill-seeking.

Perhaps more importantly, these technologies are helping marketers understand how to manipulate consumer emotional response as well. Harvard Business Review once famously pointed out that fMRI showed that showing a higher price tag while people were tasting identical wines made the wine taste better—by "changing the actual neural signature of the taste."

From Brand Promotion to Breaking-and-Entering?

Still, the whole notion of neuromarketing raises serious questions. What happens when guesswork is taken out of advertising?

As Campaign recently pointed out, technological advances are such that we're not far from a day when your brain's activity signals will be made available to a degree in which "brands will be able to literally read the market's mind, in real time." One can just imagine what brands—or platforms such as say, Facebook—might do with that kind of intelligence.

What happens when the same technologies that track our behavior can also scan our brains as we drive past billboards or walk into stores, to send us just the right pitch—nearly guaranteed to work—right at the most opportune moment?

What responsibility do marketers bear in protecting consumer privacy and, for lack of a better term, mental sovereignty? What do we, as a society, need to do to make sure that happens?


🎃 World's Scariest Haunted House, Marvel Christmas Sweaters, Kellogg's IPA & More

A haunted house that's so scary, it requires a 40-page waiver. Why lab-grown brain matter may be sentient. Kellogg's follows the Ricks lead on cereal-infused IPAs. Marvel's latest ugly Christmas sweaters, and a whole lot more.

IN THIS EPISODE:

👨🏻‍🚒 Burn Notice: Dry, windy conditions have California in the hot seat (at :52 seconds)

💀Hell House: A haunted mansion that's so scary, nobody has made it through—despite a $20K reward (at 1:41)

🧠 Is lab-grown brain matter sentient? Science says it's a nightmare possibility (at 4:07)

🥪 Love at first bite? Lays' new Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup potato chips (at 6:02)

🍺 Did the Ricks inspire Kellogg's new Corn Flakes IPA? We'd drink to that (at 6:47)

🎅🏼 Ho-Ho-Hostess: Chocolate Mint Twinkies take the holidays by storm (at 8:55)

😋 Rick W. may need a few minutes alone with his It's-It (at 9:51)

🗿Chocolate-covered Oreos for the ages (at 12:08)

👻 Sheet Hits the Fans: Marvel's new trio of ugly Christmas sweaters (at 13:00)

🧛🏼‍♂️ Halloween Sales: Flying broomsticks, or down for the count? (at 14:12)

🤢 Beware the Booger, Man: This year's best tasting Halloween candy (at 15:55)

🧙🏼‍♀️ Bloody AOL: This year's most popular Halloween costumes (at 16:50)

Or Listen Here 🎃Season 3 Premiere World's Scariest Haunted House Marvel's Horrific New Christmas Sweaters Kellogg's Corn Flakes IPA & More

Approximately 18 min, 7 sec. For US audiences. Review cookie and privacy policies for SoundCloud, iTunes, Spotify, and all other streaming services.


🎧 Silent Coca-Cola Print Ads You Can Hear, AI-Generated Leadership Slogans & More

The Loaded Questions keep flying as we recall some of our favorite memories from Season 2 of Rick and Rick Rule the World.

IN THIS EPISODE

🎧 Silent Coca-Cola print ads you'll swear you can hear (at 9 sec)

🧠 The technical name for the psychological effect Coke uses in those ads - it's SCIENCE (at 1 min, 09 sec)

🔥 … Revisiting the knee-slapping family fun of "Brightburn" (at 2:09)

🏰 The Top 3 "Game of Thrones" character names parents are giving their newborns (at 3:17)

🚽 What Rick M. really wanted the GoT characters to do with the Iron Throne … (at: 4:02)

🌎 How the Ricks are going wide (at 4:47)

🤪 Which was more fun for the Ricks - Season 1 or Season 2? (at 5:54)

☕️ How ingesting too much of a good thing can go bad fast (unless it's Ricks Pez candies, of course) (at 6:28)

🕴 AI-created leadership slogans gone bad (at 8:01)

🛋 IKEA's plans to turn your living room into the set of your favorite TV show (at 932)

🐉 The Ricks nail their rendition of "Never Ending Story," the sex lives of Muppets, pre-Internet gaming, still obsessing about Shamrock Shakes, the trouble with time capsules and more (at 10:33)

Listen through the embedded player, on iTunes, or by downloading here.

Approximately 14 min, 45 sec. For US audiences. Review cookie and privacy policies for SoundCloud, iTunes, Spotify, and all other streaming services.

 
 

🎧 ASMR Affirmations for Creative Directors, AI Leadership Slogans, Whopper Overload and More

It's an epic round of Loaded Questions as the Ricks recall some of their favorite moments from Season 2 of Rick and Rick Rule the World.

IN THIS EPISODE

🎧 Top 5 ASMR Affirmations for Creative Directors (at 1 min 3 sec)

🍀 Our Lucky Charms-inspired St. Paddy's Day IPA - the Breakfast of Leprechauns (at 4:01)

🏈 For the first time ever, the Ricks pick the same #1 favorite Super Bowl spot … (at: 6:30)

🍖 … Not that we didn't have to revisit that whole Hyundai's 7 Levels of Hell controversy (at 7:55)

🔤 Rick M's prediction for Google parent company Alphabet gets an update (at 9:34)

🍿 The Ricks fight over "Spider-Man Far from Home" (at 10:24)

⚡️ Ricks don't let Ricks repeat Ricks without rubbing it in (at 12:00)

🍔 Rick and Rick experience Whopper Overload (at 13:52)

🥤 Shamrock Shake memories, babies named after GoT characters and other moments from Season 2 (at 15:35)

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Approx 19 min.

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😎 Why Podcasts are the New Website, DIY Deepfakes, and More

DIY audio deepfakes. Tinder's new choose-your-own-adventure streaming series. The new app that tells you if the people texting you are being flirtatious, or if you're strictly friendzone. Plus more. 

IN THIS EPISODE: 

💥 JJ Abrams enters the Spider-verse, with a little help from his son (at 48 seconds)

😍 Flirt-worthy, or strictly friendzone? A new app scans your text conversations to find out (at 2 min, 52 sec)

🙅🏻‍♂️ A new app allows you to create audio deepfakes of yourself—so what could go wrong? (at 4:51)

☕️ Is it Pumpkin Spice—or poison? And did a 23-year-old woman just find out the hard way? (at 5:58)

💏 Swipe left or right? Tinder's new choose-your-own-adventure-style streaming series (at 8:02)

🥤 Shake a Coke and a Smile: New Coke cans trigger cool new augmented reality experiences (at 9:18)

🎧 Thanks to Google algorithm updates, podcasts are the new webpage (at 13:03)

📰 What those Google algorithm changes mean to news aggregators may be bad news

🛒 Which generation has the most ethical shoppers? Spoiler alert: It's not the Boomers

🎅🏼 It's still summer, so of course these two brands are already running Christmas ads

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Approx 17 min, 34 sec.

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🍗 Popeye's Goes BYO Bun, KFC Readies Dating Simulator Game, and More

🎯 The Joker steals the show at the Venice Film Festival. KFC's new dating simulator game seems seriously creepy. The very different Coke Challenge could land you in jail. And is it time to say, "Oh, Thank Heaven for iPhone 11?" Plus a whole lot more.

In This Episode:

🏖 One Rick gets to enjoy "Rio" … (at :45 sec)

💣 … While the other Rick gets a "View to a Kill" (at 1 min :30 sec)

🤖 Weekly poll: "Terminator: Dark Fate" vs. "Zombieland: Double Tap" (at 2:16)

🃏 No fooling: "The Joker" takes Venice—is he gunning for an Oscar next? (at 3:45)

🍎 Eleven sent: The iPhone's goes bionic (at 5:30)

👃🏻 A very different kind of Coke Challenge is nothing to sneeze at (at 7:26)

🕹 From the WTAF Dept: The new dating simulator game from KFC (8:48)

🤡 BK's new AR game helps you "Escape the Clown" (at 9:30)

🍺 Now you can own your Bud Light Victory Fridge (at 10:45)

🍗 Popeye's goes BYOB: Bring Your Own Bun (12:00)

😶 Quick: Name the latest brand to 86 its logo (at 13:35)

🎾 Mercedes serves up voice and AR tech to score big (at 14:58)

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Approx. 17 minutes

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#EscapeTheClown: BK is Using AR to Troll Mickey D's And We Are There for 'It'

 

Just when you think Burger King can't top the crowning glory of last year's Whopper Detour campaign promoting its mobile app, it pulls off a battle royal from within its chief rival's own stores. 

Last year, BK won countless awards for geo-targeting offers for a 1-cent Whopper to customers who come within 800 feet of a McDonald's (see the success story below). But BK Germany may have upped the ante—again. 

In a cross promotion celebrating the release of "It Chapter Two," Burger King is using advertising on Facebook and Twitter to invite consumers to download its mobile app and scan a review of "It" within a movie magazine McDonald's distributes in-store.

According to The Drum, when consumers download the app, they're able to play an augmented reality-enabled mobile game that displays a "flee and run" route to the nearest BK. If they make it there within a certain amount of time, they're able to buy a Whopper for just one cent. 

It's just the latest in the kind of inventive campaigns that helped BK clean up at this year's Cannes Lions Advertising Festival—and at the cash register. And in truth, BK's unorthodox philosophy about marketing has been on display as far back as its work with CPB Group.

With this brilliantly devious cross-promotion, the QSR might just win "Creative Brand of the Year" for a second year in a row. 

 

 


🏃‍♀️🏃🏽‍♀️'You're It': Nike Starts a Game of Tag to Inspire Girls

 

We're digging a new campaign from Nike Europe that's designed to inspire young girls to get physically active.

The effort, from W&K Amsterdam, involves a virtual game of tag that can be played across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat for the chance to earn rewards points. As Ad Age reports, there will also be a real-world game of tag in London's Lee Valley on Sept. 24. 

Nike has always been innovative in its marketing and advertising, and the brand long ago learned that it pays big to play games with your customers

The only weak spot we see in "You're It"? Nike's famous tagline. Oops. 

Learn more about Nike "You're It" here.

 

 


🌮 Inside the Taco Bell Hotel, Why You're a Cyber-stalker, Summer Movie Scorecard & More

What really went down at the Taco Bell Hotel. Our Summer '19 Box Office Scorecard. Why YouTube seems to think robots deserve animal rights. Spidey's future with the MCU, and more. From Sept 2.

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IN THIS EPISODE:

🕷 Did Spidey Really Get Spiked From the MCU? (at 2 min, :30 sec)

👀 Why We're All Cyber-stalkers Now (5:55)

🤖 Why YouTube Thinks Robots Deserve Animal Rights (7:28)

🌮 What Really Went Down at the Taco Bell Hotel (9:17)

🌐 Enter: The Holo-sphere (11:34)

🎬 The Battle to Rank Among the Top 10 Movies of 2019 (14:33)

⚔️ What movie ranked dead last in the top 100 movies this summer? (15:30)

🍅 Which of these movies got the highest rating on Rotten Tomatoes this summer (16:03)

🦈 Which summer 2019 movie tried to be this year's "Meg"? (16:48)

Approx. 18 min, 25 sec.

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📺 Lucky Charms Marshmallows Go Super-sized, The Banana Splits Return, 'The Boys' Goes Big Time & More

The Ricks discuss Amazon Prime's superhero satire, "The Boys." Super-sized Lucky Charms marshmallows are coming to a s'more near you. The Banana Splits are back—in a gory new, R-rated movie. McDonald's McFizz cups are getting double takes for all the wrong reasons. "Friends" gets its own LEGO set, and a whole lot more. From August 27.

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IN THIS EPISODE

👨‍🏫 The Ricks talk Back to School and pre-Internet gaming in the good old days (at :25 sec)

🗓  The Ricks have a big milestone coming up (at 1 min, 40 sec)

🧜‍♀️ It's summertime, so of course Pumpkin Spice Lattes are already back (at 2:00)

🥤Remembering McDonald's Shamrock Shakes of yesteryear (at 2:32)

🍌The Banana Splits are back, in an very violent, R-rated horror flick (at 3:35)

📺  Why you need to drop everything & watch "The Boys" on Amazon Prime (at 5:08)

🥛 Did somebody say McWTF? McFizz is an unintentional eye-opener (at 9:00)

😸"Friends": Old TV comes with perks—LEGO's Central Perk Playset (at 10:13)

🥣 Lucky Charms Jet-Puffed Marshmallows: Magically Delicious? (at 11:20)

🚀 "Star Wars Barbie" rocks the geek look—for an out-of-this-world price (at 12:34)

📸 Instagram and WhatsApp get new names (at 14:13)

📱 Verizon sells Tumbler to Automattic … for how little? (at 15:05)

🦸🏻‍♂️  Look who's coming to CW's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" (at 15:52)

Approx. 17:05. For US audiences. Review privacy and cookie policies for SoundCloud, iTunes, Spotify and all other streaming services.